Long exploratory, analytical post. Contains Wall of Text! Ye have been warned.
Fellow Exiles, I would like to open the doors for discussion on a subject which is not infrequently mentioned, but which frustrates often. The elephant which occupies over half of the space inside the room. The runaway levels of grind in our game. Am I the only one here who has begun to feel that the levels of grind here have been getting out of hand!?
You know back in when the Producer’s Letter was release on 18th December 2020 announcing that the Isle of Siptah would be receiving an overhaul, and NPC camps would be added to the map, the following criticisms were revealed in Funcom’s feedack data:
As the data shows, the level of grind was ranked as the second highest area of concern. And yet it seems to have gone on unanswered, or potentially even worsened. Yes, I know that this is in relation to Thralls, but I suspect that this is also directed as a wider concern. I am quite confident that almost everyone here could name at least one area or item in which they feel that the current level of grind has become excessive (and I encourage you all to share them). So I will open with a some pet examples to get us started:
Time for some numbers. *Note-while the grind on all three armor types is quite hefty, I decided to draw upon heavy armor for this example, as it epitomises and best illustrates the point. The level of grind to produce a single set of Exiles Epic armor is frankly off the charts. Padding especially is a key culprit in this. For example, at default values, to make a single piece of Perfected Heavy Padding we need 31 hardened leather, 10 elephant hide and 5 twine. Each one of those pieces of hardened leather requires 5 leather, 2 thick leather, 2 alchemical base and 5 oil; and we need 31 times each of those numerical values just to make one piece of perfected padding! So lets add it all up shall we?
To make one set of Exiles Epic heavy armor we need:
PERFECTED HEAVY PADDING (×5)
-155 pieces of hardened leather (comprised of: 775 of leather, 310 of thick leather, 310 of alchemical base & 775 of oil), 50 elephant hide and 25 twine(!)
Oh but that is just the padding. Most heavy armors then typically need…
THE ARMOR ITSELF
125 hardened steel bars (head 25, torso 25, legs 25, hands 25, feet 25), 175 star metal bars (head 35, torso 35, legs 35, hands, feet 35) or another 125 hardened leather*. Then in the case of some armors we may require extras on the side. For example, 25 steel reinforcements, 10 horns, yada yada yada.
Now when we add all of these components up, the cost of just one (1) set of Exiles Epic armor is mind boggling, as is the amount of grind which goes into producing it! Sure there are other examples of uneccessary amount grind/cost. For examples: Improved Bee Hive (150 insulated wood, 25 twine), Improved Stove (200 hardened brick, 50 steel reinforcements), iron skinning knife (30 iron bar, 5 branches, with up to 23 iron bars to repair it!). Anyone who has seen an iron ingot in real life could tell us how ludicrous it is to need 30 of them to produce one knife. Then there is everyones pet grumble for grind; Recipes which can only be obtained through RNGesus and the absurd amount of grind it requires.
This leads me to the final part of this post, rationale and analysis. And the question on my mind here, which is ‘why’. Why is the rate of grind as high as it is? Fun? Excessive grind is not fun, it is like doing chores. We play games to adventure and have fun, not do chores. Longevity? Sure it artificially extends time, but it also breeds frustration and tedium, and ultimately disincentivizes many players. Balance? These costs are just a drop in the ocean for larger and well established clans, and an absolute fortune for Online Solo players and new players. Realism? Again, find me one knife in the world which needs 30 metal bars to manufacture. The aforementioned levels of grind also make it harder for people to experiment with different types of armor and impedes variety and loadout delving. Finally, independently of whether individuals agree or disagree with any or all of these assessments, I would still postulate that the point remains steadfast; that the levels of grind are just too high.
**So I ask you: Is the level of in game grind currently in effect measured and proportionate, or does it detract from the game experience, and is it tantamount to pointless busy work? Grind needs a reason to exist, and not just for the sake of itself. Of course I acknoeledge that higher tier recipes should require more materials. And that some level of grind should exist and is rewarding. But I would also argue the current levels of grind are are just too high, and take away from the fun factor of this amazing game. Therefore, I would like to humbly request that Funcom dial back some of the levels of grind in Conan Exiles, and the cost of some of the recipes.
Fellow Exiles I would love to hear your thoughts and your feedback on this matter.